Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides people struggling with emotional dysregulation, self-destructive habits, and interpersonal challenges with a special and all-encompassing framework. DBT provides people with the skills they need to successfully negotiate the complexities of their life, nurture emotional stability, and create enduring relationships by placing emphasis on acceptance and change, mindfulness, and skill-building. By employing dialectical behavior therapy for addiction, the Behavioral Health professionals of the Palm Beaches can help patients make sensational strides in their recovery.

Who Created DBT?

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that was developed in the late 1980s by Marsha M. Linehan. It was originally created to treat people with borderline personality disorder but has been expanded to treat other conditions and ailments such as depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and substance abuse problems. It is like cognitive behavioral therapy in that it looks to change negative thought patterns into more productive thinking to positively impact behavior, but DBT utilizes the patient’s personal relationships to do so. Many people have strong emotional responses connected to their personal relationships, whether positive or negative, and dialectical behavioral therapy uses these emotional responses to illicit change in the patient.

While CBT is centered on change alone, DBT also focuses on acceptance. Through individual and group sessions, the therapist will try to promote feelings of validation, acceptance, and support for the patient while also helping them take steps to promote changes aimed at improving their quality of life. Patients will learn to accept the things in life that they cannot change while also trying to improve what they can change. Patients are better able to handle life’s everyday problems in healthy ways while setting and pursuing goals to help them build a more meaningful life when utilizing this type of thought.

What Are the Six Main Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

(DBT) revolves around six main points that form the foundation of this therapeutic approach. These work together to aid participants in overcoming the negative mindsets that keep them trapped in the cycle of addiction.

These six main points are:

  1. Dialectics: Recognizing and accepting dialectics, or the idea that two seemingly incompatible viewpoints can coexist and be true at the same time, is the first DBT principle. The dialectic in DBT is the equilibrium between acceptance and change. It encourages people to embrace who they are and where they are while still pursuing positive change.
  2. Mindfulness: DBT places a strong emphasis on the discipline of being fully present in the present without passing judgment. It entails observing and outlining experiences without passing judgment or trying to alter them. People who practice mindfulness can increase their awareness, control their emotions, and make wise decisions.
  3. Emotion regulation: DBT is aware of the difficulties people have in controlling strong emotions. Learning how to recognize and classify emotions, comprehend their purposes, and find constructive ways to moderate and express them are all part of developing effective emotion regulation skills. These abilities allow people to react to emotions in a healthy and flexible way.
  4. Distress tolerance: The ability to properly deal with painful circumstances when they cannot be changed right away is a skill that may be learned. Individuals learn to tolerate discomfort and lessen its effects rather than reverting to impulsive and hazardous behaviors, preventing impulsive activities that may worsen the situation.
  5. Interpersonal effectiveness: DBT establishes a strong emphasis on fostering better communication between people. Learning how to communicate assertively, set boundaries, express wants and wishes, and handle disagreements while upholding one’s dignity and fostering positive interpersonal connections are all aspects of interpersonal effectiveness abilities.
  6. Walking the middle path: The idea of “walking the middle path” encourages people to strike a balance between acceptance and change, avoiding extremes and settling for a neutral position. It entails realizing that there are always ambiguous situations in life and figuring out how to incorporate other viewpoints and ideals into one’s ideas and behavior.

The benefits of this treatment approach are recognized by various kinds of mental health advocates and professionals. But exactly how can we utilize dialectical behavior therapy for substance abusers?

How Is DBT Used for Addiction?

While dialectical behavioral therapy can be used to treat various conditions, it has also been adapted to help people who are struggling with substance abuse disorders. Although addiction involves physical dependence, substance abuse problems are often connected to both mental health and the addict’s personal relationships. Poor relationships could be a root cause of the addiction, or they may be a result of the person’s problem. Either way, addiction can have drastic effects on relationships and usually is an emotionally charged topic for the drug user or alcoholic.

Dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction helps patients who may be feeling alone, distant, or attacked by their loved ones find acceptance. The negative thoughts about these relationships that bombard them and often make their substance abuse worse are transformed into more encouraging messages that can push them toward positive changes in their behavior. Especially during early recovery or a BHOPB detox program, when emotions are at a high, dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction can help patients work through these emotions and feel supported.

Substance abuse dialectical behavioral therapy can also be helpful with relapse prevention. Once patients leave rehab and start to reintegrate themselves back into their community, they are bound to run into some uncomfortable and triggering situations. DBT can help patients raise their confidence and self-image, which can make them more comfortable in these situations. It can also teach them to better regulate their emotions, especially in regard to others, and turn to healthier means of coping and conflict resolution to avoid turning to drugs or alcohol.

Comprehensive Treatment at BHOPB

As a Lake Worth Drug Rehab, we believe that addiction is more than just physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. In order to help patients find lasting sobriety, we also address the underlying mental health problems and ancillary issues at play that will likely lead to relapse if ignored. DBT for addiction is just one of many therapies we use to help patients during their time with us.

To learn more about our options for DBT in Florida or addiction treatment in Lake Worth, contact us today.

Related Reading